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Summary: History and Philosophy of Biology, especially evolutionary biology, genetics and animal behaviour; History of the Human Sciences; Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of History; Intellectual Property
Greg is a historian and philosopher of science, with a main focus on biology and the human sciences. He is the Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, Editor-in-Chief of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and, from 2014 to 2016, President of the British Society for the History of Science. He is also currently Chair of the Education Committee of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology.
He received his BA in History from Rutgers (1992) and his MPhil and PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge (1996, 2000). In his final year at Cambridge he was the Charles and Katharine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College. He has been at the University of Leeds since 2000, based throughout at the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. From 2006-8 he served as the Centre's Director, overseeing the creation of a new University Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. In 2010 he was promoted to a personal chair. In 2012 he gave an inaugural lecture which can be viewed here.
His research has clustered around aspects of Darwinism, genetics, and animal/human behaviour in historical and philosophical perspective. Other interests include the theory and practice of counterfactual history and the interdisciplinary study of intellectual property, narrowly and broadly construed, in and around the sciences. In 2013-14 he was on sabbatical leave funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to work on a book about the debate that followed the introduction of Mendelism after 1900. Provisionally entitled Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendelism and the Future of Biology, the book is under contract with the University of Chicago Press, with publication expected in 2018.
His previous book The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate about Animal Language (2007) was awarded the 2010 Suzanne J. Levinson Prize from the History of Science Society for best book in the history of the life sciences and natural history. His other books include, as co-author, Darwin in Ilkley (with Mike Dixon, 2009) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (with Jonathan Hodge, 2nd edition 2009). He is active in bringing the fruits of scholarly history of science to wider audiences, appearing on In Our Time on BBC Radio 4, contributing to the Times Literary Supplement, and regularly giving public lectures and schools talks. In 2015 he gave the annual Darwin Memorial Lecture in Shrewsbury and the first annual John Innes Lecture in the history of science at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. From 2016 he will be participating with Leeds colleagues in the two-year HPS in 20 Objects programme.
He would be glad to hear from students interested in doing PhD or MRes dissertations on any aspect of biology, psychology and/or anthropology considered in "HPS" perspective.
Selected Recent Publications and Talks:
- "The Unmaking of a Modern Synthesis: Noam Chomsky, Charles Hockett, and the Politics of Behaviorism, 1955-1965." Isis, in press.
- "Beyond the 'Mendel-Fisher Controversy': Worries about fraudulent data should give way to broader critiques of Mendel's legacy." Science 350 (9 October 2015): 159-160. (An El Pais article about it can be accessed here.)
- "Experimenting with the Scientific Past." Presidential Address, British Society for the History of Science Annual Conference, Swansea, 4 July 2015.
- "Dissent of Man." Times Literary Supplement 5857 (3 July 2015): 3-4. (Entitled "Dismal Destinies" in the print version.)
For a full list of publications, see below or, for downloadable versions, see Greg's personal page